American vs. European Great Dane: Which Pet Should You Choose?

American and European Great Danes are extremely similar animals. Both are large dogs, love their family members, get along well in social settings, and look alike. However, there are a few differences that are worth noting, especially if you are trying to decipher which specific dog breed is the right one for you, your family, and your household’s overall lifestyle.

The American Great Dane originated in Europe, just like the European Great Dane. When the dog became popular in the United States, breeders decided to import European Great Danes and breed them using their own standards and modifications. These dogs share the same DNA, but due to the differences in breeding practices, they are considered two different types of dogs. Let’s look at each breed and how they compare.


Visual Differences

American vs European Great Dane - Visual Differences
Image Credit: Left – American Great Dane (mkzdillon, Shutterstock) | Right – European Great Dane (Al_Er, Shutterstock)

At a Glance

American Great Dane
  • Average height (adult): 28–32 inches

  • Average weight (adult): 100–120+ pounds

  • Lifespan: 8–10 years

  • Exercise: 1+ hours a day

  • Grooming needs: Easy

  • Family-friendly: Yes

  • Other pet-friendly: Often

  • Trainability: Intelligent, loyal, friendly, fun loving, playful, easy to please

European Great Dane
  • Average height (adult): 30–32 inches

  • Average weight (adult): 140–175+ pounds

  • Lifespan: 8–10 years

  • Exercise: 1+ hours a day

  • Grooming needs: Easy

  • Family-friendly: Yes

  • Other pet-friendly: Often

  • Trainability: Intelligent, independent, loyal, sociable, family oriented


American Great Dane Overview

great dane
Image Credit: Earl Wilkerson, Shutterstock

The European Great Dane started appearing in the United States during the 19th century and soon after, was bred using American practices. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1887. While they’re technically the same dog as the European Great Dane, different breeding practices have resulted in a few physical and temperament differences, which is why these dogs are distinguished by the location in which they were bred.

Personality / Character

Although Great Danes are extremely large, this is a kind and gentle breed. These dogs love to spend time with their human companions and get along well with children. They are affectionate and loyal and love to socialize at home and in public settings. They also make good guard dogs, as protecting their family members is a priority to them.


Great Danes are smart, so they tend to take to obedience training well. They should start training while still puppies, to help ensure good behavior and positive social skills as they age. These dogs tend to be highly energetic, so training can help them release their energy in positive ways. Consistent obedience training should continue throughout a Great Dane’s life due to their large size and personality.

Great Dane on a stone path
Image Credit: axi-schnaxi, Pixabay

Common Health Issues

This dog breed is generally healthy, but their large frame can make them prone to certain health conditions that every owner should be aware of. For example, gastric dilation-volvulus is a deadly condition that primarily affects giant breeds like Great Danes. Here are a few other health conditions that Great Danes could develop:

  • Hip dysplasia

  • Elbow hygroma

  • Hypothyroidism

  • Wobbler syndrome

Suitable for:

The American Great Dane is an excellent family dog that can get along well in a variety of household situations. While a house with a fenced yard is ideal, this breed can live happily in an apartment setting if they can go out for walks and playtime daily. Due to their size, this is not the best pet breed for seniors or those with mobility issues.

divider-dog paw

European Great Dane Overview

great dane lying down
Image Credit: Ralphs_Fotos, Pixabay

European Great Danes are more docile and independent than the American version of the breed. They also happen to be lazier, often referred to as “couch potatoes” by their loving owners. Great Danes from Europe are still bred as working and hunting dogs, though, whereas the American versions are typically bred as family pets and guard dogs.


Although European Great Danes enjoy couch time, they also like to get outside and be active during the day. These dogs should get at least 1 hour of exercise each day to stay happy and healthy throughout their lives. Exercise can come in the form of walking, agility training, dog park visits, and games of fetch in the park.


All Great Danes are sociable, but the European version is more independent and prefers to maintain a bubble of personal space most of the time. These dogs should start socializing with other people and dogs while puppies to help ensure that they don’t become as shy or aggressive as adults. They can get along well with well-behaved children, although their size can be a danger to little ones if they get carried away during playtime.

Merle great dane dog
Image Credit: DragoNika, Shutterstock


The breeding of European Great Danes is still going strong today. The dog breed is popular among hunters, farmers, and families alike. Not all breeders are created equal, though, so it’s important to do your due diligence and ensure that you understand exactly how a breeding operation works before deciding to purchase a pup from them. Keep in mind that Great Danes end up in shelters just like any other dog, so it’s always a good idea to check all your local shelters and humane societies for a pup to adopt before trying to buy from a breeder.

Suitable for:

European Great Danes are great for families, hunters, and farmers. These are hardworking dogs that love spending time with their human companions and don’t mind cuddling on the couch while their family watches a movie. They need plenty of room both inside and out to stretch and play. They also require guidance and discipline from someone comfortable playing the “pack leader” role.


Physical Characteristics

When looking at an American and a European Great Dane, you’ll notice that the latter is bulkier than the former. They are both about the same height, but the European Great Dane is typically considerably heavier than the American Great Dane. Their chest is typically broader and their cheeks “looser,” whereas the American Great Dane’s chest is thinner and their facial cheeks “tighter.”

Otherwise, both types of Great Danes look remarkably similar (it’s hard for many people to tell the difference, especially through pictures) and can develop a variety of different coat colors. The most important distinction between these two types is where they are bred. American Great Danes are bred strictly in the United States, as where European Great Danes are bred exclusively in Europe, hence their names.


Which Breed Is Right for You?

The truth is that the right Great Dane for you is one that’s located near your area. If you live in the United States, there is no need to get a Great Dane from Europe, and vice versa. Both types of dogs can hunt, guard, work on a farm, and get along well in family environments. That said, all Great Danes have unique personalities, so it’s a matter of finding one that gets along well with everyone in your family.

Featured Image Credit: Top – American Great Dane (Tara Lynn and Co, Shutterstock) | Bottom – European Great Dane (BIGANDT.COM, Shutterstock)

The post American vs. European Great Dane: Which Pet Should You Choose? appeared first on Pet Keen.

How to Calm a Sexually Excited Dog (8 Tips & Tricks)

Dogs are not-so-modest about some of the things they do. So if they have taken a shine to a couch pillow or one of your child’s stuffed animals, you might want to end the behavior once and for all—but that can be challenging.

Dominating inanimate objects can be a real problem for some dogs, but it is manageable. If you have a dog with specific sexual behaviors you’d rather keep tucked out of sight, try these methods to help the issue.

divider-dog paw

The 8 Tips to Calm a Sexually Excited Dog

1. Make a Distracting Noise

Don’t let the behavior continue. Clap your hands very loud, shout out a command—anything you can to get their attention. When you break the concentration, you should momentarily halt the behavior and then have time to push your dog’s attention toward other activities.

Try not to yell, threaten, or spank your dog. However, make it clear that the behavior is unwanted.

Dog whistle training
Image Credit: Jari Hindstroem, Shutterstock

2. Channel Your Dog’s Attention

Once you’ve broken their concentration, it’s time to put them on to something else. Toss them their favorite toy to chase or a bone to chew on. Whatever it takes to get their energy focused toward another self-play option.

3. Strike Up Play Time

You might need to play along if you’re having trouble distracting them. That means finding an activity the two of you can do together. Take this time to have a miniature training session or play a game of tug of war.

Rearranging your dog’s thought patterns will interrupt the current action and put their energy to good use.

dog owner playing tug of war with his pet
Image Credit: thka, Shutterstock

4. Ignore It Completely

Some folks let their dogs do their business and stay out of it. If that sounds like something you prefer, remove yourself from the room so that your dog has some private time.

Make sure they don’t have any bedding, items, or belongings you don’t want to be destroyed.

5. Remove Your Dog from the Area

If your dog wants to get frisky, they can do so in its own area. You can put them in their crate or kennel, let them go outside in the backyard, or separate them into another room. This way they can do what they want, and you and your family can rest distraction-free.

labrador retriever lying inside dog cage
Image Credit: Parilov, Shutterstock

6. Get Your Dog Spayed or Neutered

Sometimes, decreasing sex hormones can eliminate this behavior. If you have yet to get your pet spayed or neutered, it’s a really good avenue to consider. Spaying and neutering have their own series of health benefits, all of which can help your dog live a longer and healthier life.

Speak with your veterinarian about the pros and cons and schedule an appointment. Most veterinarians recommend getting your pet spayed by 6 months to 1 year old. It will be different from dog to dog.

7. Keep Up with Daily Exercise

Exercise is vital to keep your dog fit and provides an excellent way to expel extra energy. Some dogs require more exercise than others. If your dog gets sexually excited frequently, it may come from a lack of channeled energy.

Get your dog out for a few brisk walks, make sure they’re getting enough time to run around, and keep them engaged and mentally stimulated as much as possible. Proper exercise often decreases the frequency of sexual excitement.

dalmatian dog on a leash walking with the owner
Image Credit: absolutimages, Shutterstock

8. Give Them a Treat to Divert their Behavior

Your dog might be excited about the teddy bear in the corner until they see the mouthwatering treat in your hand. You can divert your dog’s attention away from the stimulating behavior and satisfy their taste palate instead.

It’s important to make your dog realize in these times that they are not being rewarded for their current behavior. That is why you’ll need to snap them out of their recent activity and move their focus elsewhere.


Why Do Dogs Get Sexually Excited?

Sexual excitement in dogs can stem from a variety of factors, but it’s usually because they aren’t being stimulated enough in their daily life. It can also spawn from sudden excitement or stress they can’t articulate.

When dogs encounter these situations, they self-soothe by masturbating or mounting objects. While it can be a little embarrassing to us, this is quite natural for them.

an excited Siberian husky dog with its tongue out
Image Credit: Luis Quintero, Pexels

Don’t Negatively Scold Your Dog

If your dog is performing this action a lot, you will want to make them aware that the behavior is unwanted without overdoing it. You should never punish, spank, or use negative reinforcement tactics to correct the situation.

Regardless of how annoying or embarrassing it might be to you, this is still a very natural process for your dog, and not one they should be ashamed of. It’s not so much that you should try to eliminate the behavior entirely, but there is a time and a place for everything.

If you need to excuse your dog or put them in a separate room until they can calm down, these are definitely solutions you need to implement over harsh discipline. Disciplining in this manner can lead to fearful reactions, poor behaviors, and destructiveness.

Get Your Dog a Friend

As humans, we can only fulfill so many of our dog’s mental and physical needs. Sometimes, your dog could be downright bored and unstimulated in other ways, which can lead to excessive sexual excitement.

If you only have a single dog in the home, it might be time to invite another canine in that can match their energy. The two can spend time romping around to alleviate a lot of that extra tension.

You might notice fewer of these behaviors, and you have a playmate for your dog, so you can get some work done. There are plenty of rescues, shelters, and breeders with amazing dogs of any age. Just make sure to get the dogs fixed if they’re different genders and you don’t want any unwanted puppies, or get two dogs of the same gender instead.



A sexually excited dog can be a real pain sometimes. But there are reasons for everything, and your dog is simply following something instinctual. There are ways to curb the behavior, or at least put it in its proper place.

Just remember to refrain from highly harsh punishments. Reacting out of frustration can cause fearfulness in your dog, resulting in worsening issues.

Featured Image Credit: zoegammon, Pixabay

The post How to Calm a Sexually Excited Dog (8 Tips & Tricks) appeared first on Pet Keen.

6 Common Health Problems in Weimaraner Dogs

Weimaraners are pretty healthy as far as dog breeds go. This breed was developed largely to be a working animal. Therefore, health was a primary concern during much of the breed’s development. Health issues in working dogs are a huge issue, after all.

However, this breed is still prone to some health issues. Some of these are purely genetic, which means they can be avoided with careful breeding. This is why it’s vital to work with a qualified breeder when adopting a puppy. Some other conditions are affected by environmental factors, so how you raise your dog may affect their health later.

divider-dog paw

The 6 Common Health Problems in Weimaraner Dogs

1. Entropion

Weimaraners are a bit more prone to entropion than other dog breeds. This condition occurs when the eyelids roll inwards. While this may seem benign, the eyelashes can cause irritation to the eye very quickly. Often, this leads to pain and swelling. Eventually, infection can occur, leading to loss of the eye. Rarely, this condition can be deadly when allowed to progress.

For the most part, this seems to be a genetic condition. There have not been many studies done on potential environmental-related factors, though. Therefore, your best bet is to choose a qualified breeder when adopting your Weimaraner.

Image Credit: mtajmr, Pixabay

2. Hip Dysplasia

As a larger dog, Weimaraners are sometimes affected by hip dysplasia. While there is some genetic factor to this condition, diet also plays a role. Hip dysplasia occurs when the ball and socket of the hip don’t grow at the same rate. These growth differences lead to the hip degenerating very early in a dog’s life. Often, this condition is diagnosed within the first few years.

If a large breed puppy is fed too much, their growth rate can be affected. Often, this leads to them growing faster than their skeleton is made for, leading to hip dysplasia. However, some dogs may simply develop hip dysplasia even if they are fed correctly. Therefore, it is believed a genetic component also exists.

Overexercising a puppy can also lead to excessive joint degeneration. Therefore, it is never recommended to over-exercise your Weimaraner puppy.

3. Bloat

Sadly, bloat is a largely misunderstood condition. It occurs when gasses build up in the stomach to a dangerous level. Sometimes, the stomach also flips, cutting off possible exits for the gas. If untreated, bloat can turn deadly in only a few hours. The stomach will swell, cutting off blood flow to the surrounding tissues. Eventually, this leads to the other tissues dying. It’s very painful and constitutes an emergency.

Surgery is almost always needed to re-flip the stomach. Often, the stomach is fastened to the inside of the abdominal wall during surgery to prevent bloat from occurring again.

We don’t know exactly why bloat occurs. You’ll find many arguments for all sorts of different factors. However, studies haven’t actually confirmed any of these. For this reason, our recommendation is to learn the symptoms of bloat so that you can act if your dog develops it.

These symptoms include:
  • Panting (and other signs of pain)

  • The inability to settle down

  • Pacing

  • Non-productive gagging

  • Abdominal swelling

weimaraner lying on ground full of leaves
Image Credit: Micha_WebdesignSchmitt, Pixabay

4. Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy

This condition doesn’t occur as often in Weimaraners as in some other breeds, but it still occurs more often than in the general population. It occurs when a dog’s bones grow excessively. It’s a developmental disorder, meaning it is often diagnosed in puppies. Sometimes, it can be diagnosed when the dog is only a couple of months old (and therefore, before they are adopted).

Males seem to be at a higher likelihood for this condition, though experts aren’t sure why. This condition often affects the largest bones the worse. However, the dog’s jaw and vertebrae can also be affected. Often, this condition is painful and most symptoms are pain responses, such as limping and yelping. The symptoms are very similar to hip dysplasia, but diagnostic tests (like X-rays) can tell them apart.

There is likely a genetic component to this condition. However, there is no genetic test to check for it. Therefore, it is harder for breeders to avoid.

5. Panniculitis

Panniculitis occurs when inflammation develops in the fat-containing tissues. It is a pretty uncommon condition overall and often occurs when bacteria develop under the skin. However, there are other causes, as well.

There is also a “sterile” form of the condition, which occurs without an underlying infection. Sometimes, this can be due to medications or because of a different, underlying condition. However, in many cases, the cause of this disease isn’t understood.

We don’t understand exactly how this disease is inherited. However, it does seem to be inherited to some extent, as it runs very clearly in certain breeds. It occurs most often in Weimaraners and Dachshunds. There is no genetic test, and the most of inheritance isn’t understood. Therefore, it is more difficult for breeders to protect against this condition.

Domestic weimaraner_
Image Credit: RitaE, Pixabay

6. Von Willebrand’s Disease

This bleeding disorder is a genetic condition that is found in both people and dogs. It causes the dog to produce fewer platelets than needed, which leads to less clotting. This disease is quite complicated. It does appear to be genetic, affecting Doberman Pinschers the most. However, it also seems to affect some breeds worse than others. Plus, not all dogs with the genetic code for the disease actually develop symptoms (the reason for this is unknown).

Often, this disease is discovered during a routine surgery or vet procedure. Luckily, this means that the dog often survives the first instance of serious bleeding. Once the dog is diagnosed, it is often straightforward to manage this condition. If the dog starts bleeding, visiting the vet quickly is often recommended.

When the disease first presents itself outside of the vet (such as during a minor injury), the owner may not get the dog to the vet fast enough, especially if the injury is relatively minor.

Of course, this condition does make a lot of things potentially deadly in dogs. For instance, surgeries are much more dangerous in dogs with this bleeding disorder, as they will bleed more during the surgery.



Weimaraners are a pretty healthy breed. Most of these dogs never develop a serious genetic condition. However, there are still some genetic conditions that are prevalent in this breed. Often, these conditions can be tested for and avoided by qualified breeders. Carriers for certain conditions may also be tested, and two carriers should not be bred together.

However, other conditions are more difficult to avoid. No one knows why bloat occurs, for instance, which means that preventing it is practically impossible.

Your best option is to choose a qualified breeder that avoids as many genetic issues as possible. Then, learn about the symptoms of other conditions so that they can be caught and treated early.

Featured Image Credit: Nejron Photo, Shutterstock

The post 6 Common Health Problems in Weimaraner Dogs appeared first on Pet Keen.